How OSAP Changes Will Affect Ontario Students In 2019

How OSAP Changes Will Affect Ontario Students In 2019
The 19-year-old student made his plans for post-secondary studies when Ontarios Liberal government was offering free tuition to students from low-income families. As the son of immigrants who worked hard to pay the bills, his tuition was covered, so Leurebourg decided to study at Torontos York University instead of living at home with his family in Ottawa.

Then, about two months before Leurebourg started university, Progressive Conservative Premier Doug Ford came to power. His PC government to make students repay more of the funding they receive through the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP).

This year, Leurebourg will receive nearly $2,000 less in grants than he did last year. He got an extra $600 in loans that he has to eventually repay.

Courtesy Ed Leurebourg

Ed Leurebourg, 19, says he has to get a second part-time job this year because of Ontario Premier Doug Ford s cuts to OSAP.

Fords policies are an attack on students that will disproportionately hurt kids from immigrant families, Leurebourg told HuffPost Canada.

Im the first generation of my family to go to university. Its a big strain thats happening, he said.

Leurebourg, who moved to Canada from Haiti as a child, said his friends whose families have been here for generations wont be impacted as badly as he will be.

Their families already have the means to support them with, like, savings accounts ready for them when they come to age. My parents have been here for ten years. You know what I mean? Theres none of that, he said.

At the same time the government announced its changes to OSAP, it also said it would cut tuition costs by 10 per cent. That means a student paying average tuition for a college diploma would save about $200 and a student paying for the average bachelors degree would save approximately $600.

Leurebourg said its not enough to make up for the $2,000 he lost in grants.

He said hell have to find a second part-time job when he returns to Toronto for the school year. He already works 15 hours a week at the universitys IT help desk but says its not enough money to cover his rent, textbooks, living expenses, and now some tuition, too.

Just focusing on school and work means that Im missing out on so many things that I could be learning.Ed Leurebourg, 19

He said he might have to give up extracurricular activities, like his position as vice president of his student council, if he needs more time to work.

Those activities are vital to his experience at school, Leurebourg said.

Just focusing on school and work means that Im missing out on so many things that I could be learning.

On top of the changes to OSAP, here are the other PC policies that will affect post-secondary students this year.

Students can save some money through the governments Student Choice Initiative, which makes fees for some clubs and services optional instead of mandatory.

The former minister said the policy a year, but at York, the maximum savings is actually $85 a year for a student in Leurebourgs program.

The fees that are now optional range from less than $1 to more than $100. They fund student unions, newspapers, clubs and services for groups like women, LGBTQ students and racialized students so some campuses may see these programs disappear if too few students want to pay the fees.

A union representing students at the University of Torontos Mississauga campus has said that the policy means it will have to cut $80,000 in bursaries.
Read more on The Huffington Post
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